There are so many things to do in Beijing. Any travel website or guide will give you a lot of information about Beijing, the capital of China, the most populous country in the world. However, to really get a feel of what a city has to offer, you need to be there, breathe in the air, get a feel of the atmosphere, taste the food and observe the local people and their life.
Beijing has a lot to offer to a visitor. Like most capital cities, it is the center of political, cultural, economic and trade activities in the country. You will be able to see many historical attractions giving you a glimpse into the ancient past. You will also understand why it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world with more than 4 million international tourists and 140 million domestic tourists coming in every year.

If you are excited about the idea of visiting Beijing but feeling a bit overwhelmed and don’t know what to do and where to start, here are a few things to do in Beijing:

5 Things To Do In Beijing As A Tourist

1. Sight Seeing

I’m sure this is the main purpose of any tourist visiting Beijing. Not sure about what the major attractions are? Here’s the must -go list:

  • Forbidden city (Imperial Palace)
  • The Summer Palace
  • The Great Wall
  • Ming Dynasty Tombs
  • Tiananmen Square
  • Beijing Hutongs
  • Temples of Heaven
  • Beihai Park
  • Shichahai
  • Jingshan Park
Things To Do In Beijing summer palace

Summer Palace

2. Take a rickshaw ride

Considering the traffic situation in Beijing, only the most maneuverable vehicles can really get you somewhere fast and rickshaws fit the bill perfectly. They have this knack of making progress on chocked roads by driving on the footpaths, going the wrong way on one way streets and in general disregarding all road rules.

Lights and indicators probably don’t come as part of standard equipment for rickshaws as many are without these essential devices. However, that doesn’t prevent them from operating at night. A rickshaw ride through Beijing can be as exciting as the ride of an adventure theme park, the only difference is that in this case there is real danger. If you want to know what it is like, take a look at James Bond’s rickshaw ride in Octopussy. You will have your heart in your throat during the ride and will thank your stars when you get off alive.

I know you are getting worried by now. Don’t be. There are also rickshaws taking people around Beijing Hutons, Shichahai and other historical areas leisurely. The seats are comfortable, drivers (also the tour guides) are friendly and knowledgeable and price is like less than 30$ an hour.

things to do in Beijing rickshaw ride

3. Try The Local Cousin

Things To Do In Beijing Beijing Duck

Food is Beijing is generally fresh, delicious and cheap. If you are in Beijing, you should not miss the famous Peking duck. Also called the Beijing duck, this roast duck is one of the most famous foods of China. There are many famous Peking duck restaurants in the city like the Quanjude Beijing Roast Duck restaurant and the Dadong Peking Duck restaurant. Pecking duck is usually served with pancakes, sweet noodle sauce and spring onions.

If you are looking for something exotic, the Wangfujing Snack Street is the place to go. It is packed with food stalls offering a wide variety of local street delicacies. You can either settle for the less exotic lamb kebabs or for fried scorpions and insects which can give you an Indiana Jones experience.

You can be sure that the fried insects are fresh as some of them are still alive when they are on the skewers. I didn’t see any locals eating it, so it could just be a tourist only delicacy for brave people.

If you are looking for some simple snack, I recommend you try baked sweet potatoes from a local farmer. At five yuan (less than a dollar) for three pieces, it is definitely worth it. You have to be careful about what you drink, especially on the streets. Water borne diseases like diarrhea are common. When you are in doubt, it is better to stick to hot beverages like tea or coffee.

4. Get A message

Beijing is massive and there will be lots of walking involved. A good massage is very relaxing after a tough touring day in Beijing.  Massage parlors offering massage for about nine dollars an hour are available round the clock. It’s a far cry from 90 dollars an hour price tag in Sydney. So enjoy while you are there. There are many large massage/bath houses open 24 hours a day. If you are too tired to travel to the massage place, they can come to your hotels too.

5. Shopping

From international brand names to little street stalls, Beijing offers all kinds of shopping experiences. China is laced with spectacular places to visit, but when it comes to shopping ‘Wangfujing Street’ is brilliant. It is ripe with various shops to fulfill all possible needs one could possibly think of. Encompassing the Chinese culture and all it has to offer, it can be a goldmine for tourists looking to find souvenirs and other items of interest. You can buy souvenirs from all the tourist attractions too. The price can be tricky though.

This Chinese army hat is my favorite souvenir I bought from a normal shopping street in the heart of the city for 10 Yuan ( 1 dollar something).

Things To Do In Beijing Forbidden City

Forbidden City

The same hat was selling for 45 yuan in Summer Palace. At the great wall, the price for this hat was 80 yuan. Unfortunately I lost my hat in a taxi a couple of days after I bought it. But luckily I still have this photo as souvenir.

So when you go as a tourist, do the things to do in Beijing that a tourist would do and have fun. I loved my Beijing trip, despite loosing my favorite Chinese army hat.


It was the 5th Vivid Sydney Festival and the first time I actually made it. If you missed it this year and would like to see all the wonderful lights and colors, make sure that you go next year. Just check out Vivid Sydney’s official website for more information. There’s even a Vivid Sydney app you can download to your mobile phone with maps and everything:). Got to love smart phones!

lights building

face in light

harbour bridge north sydney opera house people at vivid sydney

white back ground

custom house sea of people

dh lights

Having lived in this area for nearly 8 years, I hardly walk around Darling Harbour at night any more. This is a mistake because Darling Harbour has become more and more lively and vivid at night. Coming to winter season, I’m even more reluctant to go to Darling Harbour at night, even it’s only 5 minutes away from my doorsteps. You might wonder what finally dragged me out… It’s my camera. Yes, photography is my labor of love.

Vivid Sydney Festival is on from 24 May to 10 June this year. The weather is not particularly warm during this period and it has been raining a lot since the festival started. But this golden opportunity to photograph Sydney in lights should not to be missed.

Here’s the blurb from Vivid Sydney official site: “Darling Harbour is now officially part of the Vivid Sydney event footprint. This year, the Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour joins the line-up of major Harbourside attractions to light up during Vivid Sydney. “

Sounds like enough reason to explore Darling Harbour at night? Yes I was convinced. At least it’d be a good opportunity to take a few memorable photos.

It was a fine, sunny day and the night was pleasant to walk around. Darling Harbour was packed, especially at times when the Vivid Aquatique was on. There were rows and rows of people gathering around the harbor and in order to get in the front row to have a better viewpoint, one-hour queue time was necessary. I couldn’t be bothered to wait that long and was really worried about being egged if I set up my tripod in the front row, taking a few people’s spots.

So I just stayed in the crowd, watched the colorful fountains then walked away to find somewhere less crowded and better subjects to shoot.

It turned out, Darling Harbour at night is photogenic itself without vivid Sydney Festival. Here are a few of my favorite photos of Darling Harbour that night:

Luminous Darling island

darling harbour at night-001-2

darling harbour at night-001-3

Magic touch

Darling Harbour at night

darling harbour at night-001

darling harbour at night

Compared to Sydney, there’s a burst of Autumn colors in Blue Mountains, even in late autumn.

For the record, Sydney’s had the warmest Autumn in 20 years. We didn’t realize it’s late autumn already until we drove all the way to the mountains yesterday and found out that almost all the colorful leaves were on the ground. Nevertheless, they still looked amazing and sort of color coordinated with my boots…

Autumn Colors In Blue Mountains

We managed to locate the last surviving colorful leaves and flowers in Mount Tomah botanic garden and Mount Wilson. Did I mention Sydney is kind of boring for landscape photography? Yes that. Living in Sydney, I haven’t seen proper autumn foliage for years. You could possibly imagine my excitement before we headed off to the mountains. I packed 2 fully charged spare batteries for camera, 2 empty memory cards and loads of imagination.

First stop, Mount Tomah Botanic Garden.

There wasn’t much Autumn colors in this garden but nothing could escape my eagerly searching eyes. Those are images of few colorful plants scattered here and there:

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autumn flowers in mountains-001

autumn flowers in mountains-003

autumn flowers in mountains-004

It was a warm Saturday day, perfect for people getting married in the Garden. Actually, there were quite a few couples getting married there. Looks how cute were these 2 cars driving past me:

mt. royal botanic garden

Love those warm yellow and green color combination. This plant looked full of life and hope in the bright daylight.

autumn foliage in mountains-002

There were a few remaining roses in the rose garden.

autumn foliage in mountains-003

autumn foliage in mountains-004

Only saw one maple tree but that was enough for one good photo:).

Autumn Colors In Blue Mountains mount tomah

Mount Wilson is only 15 minutes away from Mount Tomah but the temperature there is clearly much lower. It is by far the best spot for Autumn colors in Blue Mountains area. Obviously, there were better photo opportunities a week or two before as most of the trees were nearly bare. Even so, Mount Wilson never disappoints. There’s no cafe, restaurants or shops selling souvenirs in Mount Wilson.  Here, you get plenty natural beauty, fresh air and charming parks.

Autumn Colors In Blue Mountains mount wilson

Autumn Colors In Blue Mountains mount wilson

Autumn Colors In Blue Mountains mount wilson

Autumn Colors In Blue Mountains mount wilson

Autumn Colors In Blue Mountains mount wilson

Autumn Colors In Blue Mountains mount wilson

Autumn Colors In Blue Mountains mount wilson

Though we missed the peak autumn colors in Blue Mountains and I didn’t get to use any of my spare batteries or camera cards to take lots of pictures, I wasn’t even slightly disappointed with the trip. I got the best was on offer that day. And that, is enough.

I’ve come across the most popular Sydney wedding photography locations while trying to find hot spots for landscape photos in Sydney lately. Frankly speaking, Sydney is boring for landscape photography. We have an Opera House, a harbour bridge and endless blue ocean. That’s it. We shoot them over and over again from different angles:).

There are a few photography hot spots for us all to enjoy the best views of Sydney’s iconic landmarks. Whenever we go, they are always packed with photographers with tripod and people to be photographed, mostly weddings and couples.

In this blog post, I’m going to share the best Sydney wedding photography locations along with some of landscape photos I took recently.

Sydney Observatory Hill Park

This is a park located in the Rocks area, right in the Sydney center. Possible the highest location in the Rocks, the observation hill offers sweeping, panoramic views of Sydney Harbour and the Harbour Bridge for free. The public park is also home to exercise stations, public artworks.

It is a perfect spot to have a picnic, read a book and watch the day to go by. Here are a few of my favorite photos from a recent photo shoot:

harbour bridge at night-Best Sydney Wedding Photography Locations

Built in 1858, Sydney Observatory is also located on Observatory Hill. It’s Australia’s first observatory:

Best Sydney Wedding Photography Locations sydney observatory-001

Sydney Observatory before sunset

Best Sydney Wedding Photography Locations - sydney observatory hill

Sydney Observatory Hill at Sunset

Milson’s Point Sydney

Milson’s point is located on the lower North Shore of Sydney. It is wonderful location to enjoy the best views of Sydney without having to actually go into the city. You can walk right under the harbor bridge and look at its amazing structure. You get uninterrupted view of across the harbour to the Sydney opera house and circular Quay. Luna Park is just a few steps away if you want more color and action in your photos.

We went to shoot Sydney Harbour Bridge at night a couple of weeks ago and happily captured the Luna Park in action as well.

bridge- Best Sydney Wedding Photography Locations

A ferry went past under the bridge just after sunset.

bridge and boat-Best Sydney Wedding Photography Locations

Later on that night, captured the dramatic effect of a fast boat passing by.

luna park-001

Sydney Luna Park at night


Sydney Luna Park at night

Sydney Luna Park at night

All about actions

More actions!

The Blue Point Reserve is a phenomenal spot to have the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour as your wedding photos’ backdrop. Some landscape photos and photograpy tips are shared here.

Sydney Centennial Park

I didn’t realise Sydney Centennial Park is such a wedding photography hot spot until recently. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and we saw 3 couple passing by within 30 minutes in Centennial park. That day was featured in this blog: A Day Out In Centennial Park Taking Photos.

Cotswolds hotel swan hotel

cotswolds hotel, swan hotel

Outside the hotel the next morning

I loved that pretty and most comfortable Cotswolds Hotel. Loved it. We hired a car to drive through The Romantic Road, Cotswold in England last Summer, stayed at Swan Hotel in Bibury.

Our journey to The Cotswolds Romantic Road started from London. The day we left London was the first beautiful sunny day after we arrived so I was picturing, dreaming really, the beautiful Cotswolds rolling country roads and charming cottages in the sun. You know, blue sky and all that stuff.

On the way we visited Winsor Castle and the Stone hedge. Both sites are grand in their own ways and breath taking. For one day, we had perfect weather and beautiful blue sky.

We booked one Cotswolds hotel (Swan Hotel in Bibury) to stay overnight. It was a punt. Both of us knew nothing about Bibury or Swan Hotel before the trip. But Bibury was once described by William Morris (1834-96) as “the most beautiful village in England” so I was keen to explore the town.

It was quite dark when we got there.  Swan hotel is furbished as the 17th century country house style, sitting in the heart of the village on the banks of a river. I was immediately attracted to its charming appeal.

Cotswolds Hotel swan hotel

View from the window

Hotel stuff was very friendly and I couldn’t wait to have something to eat. It turned out this Cotswolds hotel offered Award winning food and a good selection of fine wine.  Walking pass the beautifully decorated lounges with real log fires, we sat down in the gallery restaurant. My dinner was smoked (whole) trout with baby potato salad and it was divine! Later I found out that Bibury trout farm was just a stone’s throw away. No wonder my trout tasted so fresh.

Swan hotel won the best breakfast awards many times and it certainly didn’t disappoint us. I ordered smoke salmon with poached eggs. Happily to report that it was not salty, super market quality smoke salmon. It was simply unforgettably delicious!

I didn’t love it just for the food. Mineral rich, natural spring water (bottled at the source) was provided in the bedrooms. Our room was supper comfortable with luxurious bathroom. Everything was so cute, making me wanting to stay longer.

Cotswolds hotel swan hotel

The bathroom is pretty grand.

Cotswolds Hotel swan hotel


Rain started at night. It continued to rain heavily for the next 2 days. Our journey through romantic road Cotswold was filled with rain and chilled air. I had to put on both my jumper and thick jacket to keep warm (August in UK). But we still managed to go out and about in the rain cause we were tourists from overseas.

Cotswolds Hotel swan hotel

In front of cute cottages with extremely low ceilings

How I wished I could just stay in that romantic country house, having a warm bath and eating freshly smoked salmon. Or Trout.

We headed north to Blues Point Reserve to have a Sydney Harbour night photography workshop. Blues Point Reserve is located in North Sydney; towards the end of Blues Point Road, McMahon’s Point.

The sky was blue and the sun stretched across it. Sydney was blessed with beautiful weather that day. We arrived at Blues Point Reserve  in the afternoon. There was still broad daylight and groups of people were fishing and relaxing around the area, enjoying the perfectly beautiful day.  Many who came to the night photography workshop have never tried to take proper night photos before. I think the digital and smart phone cameras are making us very lazy. It’s not very hard press the camera button on fully automatic settings, is it? But wanted to be that person who can take sharp, nice photos at night, capturing the amazing city light manually. In order to do that, we need a good camera, a tripod and steady hands…  in this case, a good teacher as well.

J helped everybody set up the tripod and choose the right camera settings for landscape Photography. It was still not dark enough for night photos yet but it didn’t stop me shooting because I had this stunning model right in front of me – The Sydney Harbor.

Sydney Harbour Photography

Slowly, the sun started to go down. Sydney sky changed into different impressive colors and I shot continuously before the sun vanished completely.

Sydney Harbour Photography

Sydney Harbour Photography

Sydney Harbour Photography

Sydney Harbour Photography

As it turned darker and darker, more people with cameras and tripods emerged. Blues Point Reserve Sydney is not just a pretty spot. It is THE for awesome Sydney Harbour photography at night.

It was pitch black. We set longer shutter speed for correct exposure. And here you go: those were my first few, presentable Sydney night shots. Totally not embarrassed to say, I’m quite happy with them!

This is a picture of Luna Park @ Milson’s Point from a distance. Next time, I’ll get closer to shoot the turning wheel:).

Sydney Harbor Photography at night

Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House at night:

Sydney Harbor Photography at night

Notes from Sydney Harbour Photography Session:

Using tripod: In order to take sharp, colorful night photos, you need to keep the camera still.
Long shutter speed: As it gets darker, you need to let as much light as you can reach its sensor. Use longer shutter speed to shoot in the low light.
Aperture: If you want sharp landscape photos, use smaller aperture like f11 or f16.


Love Centennial Park Sydney. It is the perfect spot for picnic and possibly the safest place to ride a bicycle in Sydney. When we scheduled to have the Private Photography Workshop in Centennial Park Sydney, I immediately pictured in my mind the lush green grass and me lying on a blanket in the shade. Heaven! Teaching & taking pictures? Oh relax. Never mind the pictures…

It turned out we had a great, productive session.  Apart from roughly 20 minutes sitting & going through the photography theory in the park, everyone spent good 2 hours shooting and practicing.

It was a beautiful early autumn day. The sun shone brightly through top of the trees and it was green everywhere. A few people were taking naps in the park already.  We picked a nice, comfortable spot to settle for the workshop and everyone started to snap randomly, testing the cameras first. Centennial Park Sydney has 125 years of history. Some of the trees could have been here since 1888! The picture looked like an oil painting.

centennial park sydney

Within 30 minutes, 3 couples walked pass, having their wedding photos taken in Centennial Park.

centennial park sydney

centennial park sydney

A big old bark paper tree formed a beautiful frame for the second couple.

centennial park sydney

The bride’s beautiful veil and elaborate wedding dress have the waterfalls’ effect from the back.

centennial park sydney

Centennial Park Sydney is home of all kinds of bird-life, like the elegant black swans around the Duck Pond.

centennial park sydney

And ducks:

centennial park sydney

And lots of ibises:

centennial park sydney

There were also a few families having their kids’ photos taken in Centennial Park that day. I came across this cutie, who has the biggest, most beautiful eyes. She has adorable curls and dressed nicely for the occasion. Of course she wasn’t striking a pose for me at that point. But I couldn’t resist capturing the moment…

centennial park sydney

For more information about photography workshops head to Photography Courses Sydney website.

cascade waterfall vanuatu

I first heard of the beautiful Mele Cascade Waterfalls Vanuatu long before we made our way to Vanuatu. For some reason I imagined that it would be easy to browse around the Cascade Waterfalls Vanuatu, maybe because Vanuatu is a very relaxed country. But I was so wrong. You need to be fairly fit and be prepared to make all the way to the top.

cascade waterfalls vanuatu

There are a lot guided tours to take you around the Waterfalls. But you don’t really need to take a tour to thoroughly enjoy what the magnificent Waterfalls have to offer. In fact you might enjoy it more without the time strain of a tour.

If you go to Vanuatu, visiting Cascade Waterfalls is a must. There are lots of buses taking you to Cascade Waterfalls Vanuatu from Port Villa town center for little cost. Hiring a private bus to take you around the whole island is also a recommended option.

We hired a bus with a driver on the day we went to Cascade Waterfalls Vanuatu. Watching the landscape pass from our bus was a delight. On the way to the waterfalls, our bus drove pass a teenage boy sitting on the side of the road, not doing anything particularly.

We started our journey from the main gate of cascade waterfalls. The route is straightforward with clear paths to lead you up.  It’s not easy to be lost here even for someone with a bad sense of direction like me. As I mentioned before, you don’t need to join a tour to walk around here. The cascade waterfalls are a series of rock – pools set in the hills of Port Vila leading to a spectacular waterfall. There are cafes on the base where you can enjoy fruit drinks and have a dip in the rock pool next to it. The scenic lower parts of the falls are just as amazing if you are not able to make all the way to the top. There are tropical plants everywhere and the colors are just beautiful.

cascade waterfalls vanuatu

cascade waterfalls vanuatu

We slowly trekked up for the main waterfalls. There was about 20 minutes’ walk uphill most of the way and we all needed to hold the ropes crossing the river. The water was so clear and felt beautifully cool on the legs.

Just below the top part of the waterfall, there’s hut and a couple of guards who look after visitors’ belongings. We left our bags and camera there in order to wade in the water and climb up the rocks lightly. I was glad we took our reef shoes with us as the climb was steep and rocks were slippery. You need to wear shoes in the water.

cascade waterfalls vanuatu

We made it all the way to the top. It was worth every effort. The view on top was heavenly beautiful. So beautiful that J had to go back to the hut to get our big camera.

There are hidden caves behind the big waterfalls. We didn’t even want to leave the rock pools.

vanuatu cascade waterfall (1 of 1)

On the way back to Port Villa, we drove pass that boy we saw in the morning, still sitting at the same spot, still doing nothing. I envy people who have 5 hours in a day to watch the day go by like that. Did I say the lifestyle in Vanuatu is quite relaxed?:)

If you go visiting Cascade Waterfalls Vanuatu, allow yourself at least 90 minutes to 2 hours to explore and enjoy. Things to bring:

  • Swimmers;
  • Reef shoes;
  • Camera.

“I go to the temple more often than going to the church.” J said quietly in the car on the way to Nantien Temple. He is a Catholic. Visiting Nantien Temple has become our yearly routine.

nantien temple (6 of 8)

No, I’m not trying to pretend to be a Buddhist. But you don’t need to be a Buddhist  to visit the temple regularly (if once a year can be classified as “regularly”):).

Nantien temple is located in a tranquil, friendly environment, overlooking peaceful mountains. Situated in Berkeley, 10 minutes south of Wollongong and famous beaches, it’s only a bit over 1 hour’s drive from Sydney, a perfect get away place from increasingly busy Sydney.

Featuring two sizable shrines, a beautiful pagoda, rose gardens, museum auditorium and lots of accommodation, Nantien Temple is a wonderful place to visit. There’s a tea house inside the temple where you can get delightful vegetarian dishes and Chinese tea.

The official name is Fo Guang Shan Nan Tien Buddhist temple. It is the biggest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere. We normally joke about the term “ biggest … in the southern hemisphere”, because really, there’s not much competition in southern hemisphere:). But Nantien Temple truly lives up to its name – it is fairly grand. Don’t expect an old historical Buddhist temple like the ones you’ve seen in Asia… It’s looking almost brand new. Since the opening in Oct 1995, Nantien temple has become an important cultural center bridging eastern and western culture differences.

Just found a few photos from Nantien temple we took a while ago.  It was busy day at the temple. By the way, Nan Tien is a Chinese term, which literately means: Southern Heaven.

First time seeing the big drum in action. Captivating sound & terrific experience.

nan tien temple (2 of 8)

nan tien temple (1 of 8)

nan tien temple (3 of 8)

nan tien temple (5 of 8)

nan tien temple (7 of 8)

One and only photo with a Buddhist monk.

nan tien temple (4 of 8)

An evil eyed lizard in Nantien Temple:

nan tien temple (8 of 8)

How to get there from Sydney.

By car:

Drive along Princes Highway to Wollongong. Then follow the road sign to Nan Tien Temple. It is situated in Berkeley, south of Wollongong.

By train:

Catch the train from the Sydney Central Station to Wollongong and then take a bus to the Nan Tien Temple.

Contact details:
Berkeley Rd, Berkeley. NSW 2506 Australia
Ph : 61 2 4272 0600

Open times:
Tuesday to Sunday 9 AM – 5 PM (Open Mondays on Public Holiday Only).

We planned to do the Bondi to Coogee walk last Sunday but walked from Clovelly beach to Coogee Bay area instead. Yes, it was much shorter and sounds like we cheated. But, we had the weather to blame:). It was raining all morning.

Truth be told, I don’t fancy Bondi Beach that much. Sure, it might be Sydney’s most famous beach but it’s also the most crowded. The whole area is just very touristy and over crowded all the time. To find a meter’s parking there will always a mission nearly impossible.

Clovelly’s rocky ridges were my secret hideout place. Years ago, whenever I felt a little stressed, I would drive to Clovelly beach and sit on the rocks, facing the deep blue ocean. The endless open space and the sound of ocean waves crashing have always calmed me down. Coastal walk around this area is also beautiful and therapeutic.

coastal walk to coogee bay (1 of 5)

Brave the rain. Coastal walk started from Clovelly beach

coastal walk to coogee bay (5 of 5)We parked at Clovelly car park where there are always plenty of free parking spots. It was not a good day to sit on the rocks.. Not only because the weather was wet, but Sydney had the biggest swells in years also. It was quite dangerous to get close to the edge of the rocks because of the huge waves. But sitting on the rocks was not the plan for the day:). From the car park, we walked across Gordon’s bay. A unique and protected aquatic reserve, Gordon’s Bay is one of Sydney’s most poplar dive spots. Offering Sydney’s only underwater nature trail, the secluded bay is located south of Clovelly beach and north from Coogee beach. A steep staircase led us towards Coogee Bay direction.

It only takes 15 minutes to walk from Clovelly car park to Coogee Bay area. Don’t worry that you might get lost. The walking track was simple to follow. It was an easy, pleasant walk for us. The wet, grey looking weather didn’t dampen people’s spirits to go out and about. There were still quite a few people walking around the Sydney coastal area.

costal walk to coogee bay (2 of 5)

The walk offers brilliant views to Coogee bay and takes you to Coogee beach and parklands.

coogee bay (3 of 5)

Cliffs. Views are better than the picture took from my phone camera!

coogee bay coogee beach

Left: Coogee surf club & rock pool. Right: Coogee beach.

coogee bay

Left: Coogee Wylies Bath

Coogee beach is another popular, busy beach in Sydney with lots of restaurants and cafes around it ( also very hard to find parking).  As we made our way to the other side of Coogee beach, a small patch a blue sky appeared. It was almost like a sunny day again so we stopped to buy some ice cream. It turned out they were giving out ice creams for free that day. Don’t you think the ice cream girls in red looked great?

costal walk to coogee bay (4 of 5)

Next time when the weather is nice enough, we’ll cover the entire Bondi to Coogee route.

If we eat out in Coogee Bay area, instead of looking for parking for ages, we’ll just park the car at Clovelly, then walk to and from Coogee.

Sounds like a plan.

Brazilian buffet in Sydney has been on my must-eat list for a while. Yes, in case you wonder, I do have a must-eat list.

The perk of living in Darling Harbor area is that there are always lots of places to eat out, including one Brazilian Buffet restaurant. We went to Braza Darling Harbor for Sylwia’s birthday last Sunday, during the Australia Day long weekend.

The restaurant setting is very pleasant and we were sitting at one of the tables outside. It was an otherwise rainy and gloomy looking day but good company, nice food and plenty of alcohol did the trick. Everybody was happy and upbeat. A couple of dishes later, I started to regret having had breakfast that morning.

OK. Let’s do lunch.

Brazilian Buffet In Sydney

Brazilian Buffet In Sydney

Brazilian Buffet In Sydney

If you go… There are a few things you need to know about Brazilian Buffet in Sydney:

1. Those are not colorful salt and pepper shakers.

Brazilian Buffet In Sydney

They are indicators to the waiter so that they know whether or not to continue serving you food.

Green end on top means: I’m hungry. Bring it on!:)

Both ends lying on the table means: I’m almost done, slow down.

Red end on top means: No more for me, thank you.

2. Wait for BBQ meats come to you & order your side dishes.

Brazilian Buffet In Sydney

There’s a menu, which shows you the BBQ selection and side dishes. Large skewers of meats and racks of ribs will come to your table repeatedly but you need to order your own side dishes, as many as you wish. Have all you can eat, for $47. That’s the deal.

3. It’s not all about meat.

There are other dishes like fish of the day wrapped in banana leaves, BBQ peeled prawns, pineapple, chicken hearts on skewers and exotic cheese too. Eating hearts somehow sounded cruel too me but out of curiosity, I tried chicken hearts the first time. They are actually quite tasty (we carnivores are terrible creatures).

4. Occasionally you get the salty batch.

The foods there are generally very tasty, especially at the beginning when you still have a good appetite. But be mindful of the large chunks of salt on the surface of the meat. It can be really salty depends which part you get, unless you love salt.

5. Larger Pure Blond.

Braza has a very impressive bar and there’s a large selection of drinks to choose from. If you are cheap drunk like me, getting drunk after one glass, share your Pure Blond with someone else. Braza serves larger bottles of Pure Blond. They are 700ml bottles not your average 355ml ones.

Brazilian Buffet In Sydney

Top pick of the day:

“What did you like the most after eating for hours?” You might ask. If I ever go again, I’ll have these for sure:

  • Rocket salad

The mixed citrus, rocket leaves, beetroot and nuts make it a perfectly delicious and healthy dish. Did I say it’s not all about meat?

  • Pineapple

Those cooked pineapples are delightful.  “YES please” was our only reaction every time they came around.

  • Beef ribs

Very tasty and not tough at all.

I was looking forward to pork ribs. But the waiter cut me a very small piece, which mainly consists of 2 chunks of bones. They never came over for the second round.

  • Pork neck

The meat is juicy and tender.Tastier than pork leg in my opinion.

  • Dirty Granny Apple Cider

Refreshing, crisp with just the right amount of sweetness.

So that’s all I can say about my Brazilian buffet experience in Sydney. Now if you excuse me, I’m going out for lunch.


Braza - Darling Harbour on Urbanspoon

A few years ago, some one asked me this question: “What does Australia Day mean to you?” Immediately I replied: “ A day off.” Blunt, but these were words of truth from an exhausted employee.

On a serious note though, I always look forward to Australia Day, not merely because it is a public holiday. Australia Day to me is all about relaxation and celebration.

Australia Day is on January 26 and commemorates the establishment of the first settlement at port Jackson, now part of Sydney, in 1788.

There are a list of typical Aussie things to do on the Australia Day such as:

Have a picnic in the park.
Have a cold beer or a few.
Have an Australia Day BBQ.
Watch the Cricket.

If you want to go out and about, I would highly recommend these 3 things to do On the Australia Day in Sydney even if you are just in town for a short visit.

  • Go to The Australia Day Carnivale

Sydney hosted its first motoring celebration on Australia Day in 1986. Since then Australia Day Carnivale has been a tradition on this special day. Not interested in cars? But those are NOT just ordinary cars.  One of the largest vehicle displays in the southern hemisphere, Australia Day Carnivale offers a large range of vintage and classic cars, high performance and luxury vehicles vintage buses and trucks for show. Have a look, are they the coolest (my mobile phone camera was smudged as usual. Note to self: Remember to wipe the lens before taking photos).

Australia Day Carnivale

Super cars

Australia Day Carnival

While I was snapping with my phone camera, J delved into great details:

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Location: Macquarie St (Bridge St to Hyde Park), College St

Time: 10am – 5 pm

  • Have The Most Authentic/Tasty Laksa In Sydney

What? Having Laksa on Australia Day? Yes. Why not :). Australia is a multicultural country. Having a bowl of Laksa on Australia Day might be the best way to embrace it;). Maylay -Chinese Takeaway has the reputation of have Sydney’s Best Laksa (Sydney Morning Herald). It is only minutes away from the Australia Day Carnivale. Lucky for us, it is open on Saturday and this public holiday. The menu was full of tempting options and the most expensive dish was only $12.5. Of course, there were lots of people in the restaurant. Waning: Don’t follow others to put lots of that chilly source in your soup. It (the chilly source) is hot stuff.


Eat in – King Prawn Laksa

Shop 1, 50-58 Hunter St, Sydney NSW 2000
(Closest intersection Bligh St/ Castlereagh St.)

  • Experience The Darling Harbor Spectacular

The Darling Harbor Australia Day Spectacular is a stunning multimedia symphony of light and music, culminating in a fireworks extravaganza over Cockle Bay, Darling Harbor. It runs from 7pam  – 9pm on the day. The night was nothing short of spectacular. Being a local resident, I have never seen Darling Harbor so packed. Every inch of Darling Harbor was covered by people. There was no point to take any photos of the extraordinary fireworks of the night unless  you have a special reserved spot allowing enough space for a tripod. I don’t think any camera could really capture the moment to its full extend. All I can say is Music + Fireworks on water + Light +cheering crowd = Magical moments.

Next time if someone asks me what does Australia Day mean to me, I might just say: Magic.




Lots of bicycles. bicycles (1 of 1)


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What’s that? lol

Amsterdam is loud and naughty. This might be the most photographed shop window:

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The largest Chinese Restaurant in Amsterdam.

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Can’t take these bulbs back to Australia:(.

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Wooden shoes will be problematic going through Australia Custom too. So these shoes are good alternate souvenirs.

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Yum! Last  few bites of waffle with ice cream.


The British Museum is the best museum in the whole world.

Ok that’s just my opinion, considering there are lots of fabulous museums that I haven’t been. But I bet the truth is not far from it.

I’m a sucker for old things, very old things with historical significance.

We spent hours in The British Museum, exploring with ever increasing admiration. If it wasn’t because the museum had to close for the day, I could have easily stayed there for days.

The British Museum houses old treasures from all over the world.  It covers an astonishing range of cultures, periods and types of material from both East and West. We saw large, amazing pieces of sculpture from the ancient world in the galleries on the ground floor, Ancient Greece and Rome, ancient Egypt the ancient Near East (especially what are now Iraq and Iran).

I have always wanted to travel to Egypt. But my travel plans to Egypt has been postponed for many years due to the unstable situation and travel safety issues over there. The moment we stepped into the British museum, my desire of visiting Egypt has almost halved. There were plentiful of grand Egyptian sculptures, mummies in the museum. Apparently two friends of ours traveled to Egypt to see one of the greatest pieces of sculpture from ancient Egypt. But they couldn’t find it. They were told to see it in the British museum.

The British Museum

Going to Greece to see the Parthenon sculptures? Big mistake. They are here in the British museum.

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Want to see ancient Chinese treasures of the Forbidden City by going to the Forbidden City itself? Don’t keep your hopes up. Mostly you will only get to see lots of empty, dark colored stone flooring rooms through dirty glasses. What about the treasure gallery in the Forbidden City? Not worth mentioning compared to the British Museum collection.

But wait, there’s more. Parts of two of the Seven Wonders of the World are in the museum also: the Mausoleum at Halikanassos (modern Bodrum in Turkey) and the temple of Artemis at Ephesos (also in Turkey)

So, all in all, great treasures all over the world travelled far far away from their country of origin, being well looked after in The British Museum, which in turn, made The British Museum the number one museum on my list.

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Some Visiting Info Of The British Museum:

Entry fee: Free

Address: Great Russell Street, London WC1B #DG, UK

Hours: Sun – Thu, Sat 10am – 5:30pm; Fri 10am -8:30 pm